By: HENRY FREESE
The IU South Bend Titans softball team continued its recent string of success with a doubleheader sweep of the Trinity International University Trojans softball team on Friday afternoon at Dick Pfeil Field at Veterans Memorial Park. The doubleheader sweep concluded the Titans’ recent stretch of 10 games in seven days, but was also the beginning of three straight doubleheaders over the weekend.
“The girls continue to play well despite it being their sixth conference game in five days. With two more doubleheaders to go this weekend, it will sure test us from a physical standpoint,” said Head Coach Brittney Lightfoot.
“I am proud of the way our team played today and their ability to fight back each time we got behind. Our relief pitchers especially did a great job in coming into the game and shaking things up a bit,” Lightfoot said.
The Titans defeated the Trojans in both games of the doubleheader, with a final score of 8 to 5 in game number one, and a walk off victory in game number two, by a final score of 4 to 3.
In game one of the doubleheader, the Titans fell behind early, giving up one run in the first inning and two runs in the second inning to fall behind 3-0 after two full innings of play. However, the Titans would not let this deficit last very long, as in the bottom of the second inning, the Titans would answer with five runs on five hits, started off by a Kiah Ferrell (JR/Plainfield, Indiana) triple. Nicole Grazioli (JR/Lockport, Illinois) followed up with a RBI single, Shelby Baker (SO/Plainfield, Indiana) stepped up with a bunt single, before Brittany Vanderbrink (FR/Avon, Indiana) drove a single up the middle for the RBI. Savanna Schmitz (SO/Naperville, Illinois) capped off the inning with a two RBI triple.
The lead was short lived, as the Trojans fought back for two runs of their own in the third inning to knot the score at 5-5. IU South Bend would capitalize on the scoring opportunities presented to them, as they added three more runs in the fifth inning to take the lead for good. Nicole Grazoli and Brittany Vanderbrink would each contribute an RBI double in the inning.
Savanna Schmitz, Nicole Grazioli, and Brittany Vanderbrink each finished with two hits and two RBI’s. Kiah Ferrell and Brooke Boss (SR/Delavan, Wisconsin) added two hits in the game. Shelby Baker added one hit for the Titans.
Bailey Bruce (SR/Indianapolis, Indiana) came in in relief of starting pitcher Becca Stevens (SO/Mooresville, Indiana) to earn the win. Bruce threw two innings, allowing only two hits and no runs. Aly Brickel (JR/Hicksville, Ohio) threw two innings to earn the save in game number one of the doubleheaders.
The night ended in thrilling fashion for the Titans, as Nicole Grazioli and Shannon McCarty came up clutch with two outs in the bottom of the seventh to help the team to victory.
The Titans jumped on the board first in the bottom of the first inning with one run. Savanna Schmitz lead off the game with a single, Nicole Grazioli singled, followed by a McCarty RBI groundout.
Brooke Boss got things started with a double, Mackenzie Myars (FR/Frankfort, Indiana) added a single, Savanna Schmitz added a two out RBI single, Nicole Grazioli finished the scoring with a two RBI double.
The Trojans would come up with two runs in the third inning to take a 2-1 lead.
The Titans would even the score in the fifth inning on a suicide squeeze perfectly executed by Schmitz, driving in pinch runner Holly Weber (SO/Fort Wayne, Indiana). TIU would once again fight back for a run of their own in the sixth inning, taking the 3-2 lead.
The Titans would add another run in the sixth on a Brooke Boss RBI double, preceded by a Shelby Baker single and Brittany Vanderbrink double. Schmitz, Grazioli, and Mackenzie Myars each finished with two hits, while McCarty, Baker, Vanderbrink, and Boss added one each.
Kiah Ferrell threw six innings giving up just two earned runs in the no decision. Ashley Cox (SO/Mooresville, Indiana) earned the win in the circle throwing a scoreless seventh inning.
After the three doubleheaders last weekend, the Titans will continue their season with a doubleheader against the University of St. Francis Women’s Softball Team, in Juliet, Ill. on April 9, 2019 beginning at 4:00 p.m., with the second game to follow shortly upon the conclusion of the first game. The Titans will then host Judson University at home on April 12, beginning at 3:00 p.m. for a doubleheader.